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Text- The Neglected Media in Multimedia Design


Wed Jul 20 2005


Occasionally we gloss over the basics. Here's a good resource, Usability News, and a good read on single versus multiple column layouts that we can apply to learning and elearning materials.

In summary, the major findings regarding line length, justification, and multi-column displays and online reading have been:

  • Longer line lengths generally facilitate faster reading speeds.

  • Shorter line lengths result in increased comprehension.

  • The optimal number of characters per line is between 45 and 65.

  • Paging through online text generally results in better comprehension than scrolling.

  • Reading speed is faster for both single and multiple columns, but preference is for multiple short columns.

  • Left-justified text is read faster than full-justified text.

From Is Multiple-Column Online Text Better? It Depends! by J. Ryan Baker, full article here: http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/72/columns.htm

Apologies about the duplication to readers of my own blog, but I thought this worthy of posting here. Even an immersive VR simulation has been known to start with or include some text.

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